Ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims continues, says United Nations

Ebony Scott
March 9, 2018

Speaking before the UN Human Rights Council, Zeid noted that his office said on Tuesday that it believes ethnic cleansing is still underway in Rakhine state.

Myanmar is continuing its "ethnic cleansing" of the Rohingya Muslim minority with a "campaign of terror and forced starvation" in Rakhine state, a United Nations human rights envoy said on Tuesday.

A United Nations human rights envoy said Myanmar is continuing its "ethnic cleansing" of the Rohingya with a "campaign of terror and forced starvation" in Rakhine state.

His statement also said it was "inconceivable" that any Rohingya would be able to return to Myanmar in the near future, despite Myanmar's pledges to start taking back some refugees.

While the majority of those refugees fled Myanmar past year, Rohingya continue to stream across the border by the hundreds every week.

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"It appears that widespread and systematic violence against the Rohingya persists", said Gilmour, stating that the violence had now shifted from "the frenzied blood-letting and mass rape of previous year to a lower intensity campaign of terror and forced starvation that seems to be created to drive the remaining Rohingya from their homes and into Bangladesh".

"Victims have reported killings, rape, torture and abductions by the security forces and local militia, as well as apparently deliberate attempts to force the Rohingya to leave the area through starvation, with officials blocking their access to crops and food supplies", he told the Geneva forum.

Myanmar's government has built two reception camps and a transition camp for Rohingya refugees in northern Rakhine, but Gilmour, like most human rights advocates, says it is unsafe now to repatriate the Rohingya. "Safe, dignified, and sustainable returns are of course impossible under current conditions". "We don't want India to become the refugee capital of the world", he said, adding that efforts were on at the diplomatic level to resolve the crisis.

The agency emphasised that everyone has the right to seek asylum, just as they also have the right to return home when they deem the time and circumstances right. Authorities had received information that "terrorists" linked to the August attacks on Myanmar's security posts were sheltering there, he added.

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